Far-Right Voter: The Efficiency of Social Bases As a Discriminating Factor in Voting for Far-Right Parties

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Booth 45
Oral Presentation
Tadeusz SZAWIEL , University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
The paper will address two problems: the social characteristics of voters who identify themselves as „far-right”, and secondly what are the additional factors which are conducive to identifying with, and voting for either radical (far-) right parties or mainstream right (or conservative) parties.  Beginning with H. Kitschelt’s (1997) and P. Norris’ (2003) seminal works we know that social bases, i.e. changes in social structure and economy are not sufficient conditions for the appearance and stability of radical right parties. Kitschelt and Norris identified the party system and the electoral rules as two decisive factors for far right parties’ electoral successes. Kitschelt argues that the conductive factor is „convergence of moderately left and right parties toward a median voter” and Norris emphasizes the role of institutional context (e.g. electoral rules). It will be shown, using the left-right self-placement scale as a measure of far-right identities, how far-right voters distribute their votes among political parties and what are the social and ideological factors which discriminate against mainstream right parties, apart from the type of party system and broader institutional context. The analysis will be based on recent ESS surveys and a more detailed analysis of the Polish case based on general election studies.